With an entertaining and safe day of racing already in the books from Saturday, the competitors of the WKA Manufacturer’s Cup series heading back onto the Briggs & Stratton Motorplex on Sunday as eight more classes were on the docket. The racing was a little wilder this time around as the red flag flew more than once, but the quality of the wheel-to-wheel racing was again top-notch. Californian John Zartarian traveled into Wisconsin and walked away with an impressive TaG win, after getting quicker and quicker through the four-day event. On the other side of the spectrum, young Trent Hindman was looking at capping an outing rippled with horribly bad luck when he steered cleared of the opening lap melee in Yamaha Jr. Light to salvage the trip with a huge win. All in all, with the weather cooperating completely, the Manufacturer’s Cup turned in a solid performance at Road America despite the fact that the numbers were lower than expected.
Tony Jump was able to score the win in Yamaha Supercan Light
(Photo: Rob Howden - eKartingNews.com)
Yamaha SuperCan Lite
Ryan Stewart (Birel) led the way in the Yamaha SuperCan Lite qualifying session with a 52.492-second lap time and he then controlled the point during the early portion of the 10-lap Prefinal. The top-five that made up the lead group saw Brandon Adkins (Tony Kart) taking on the position as hard charger, moving up to first from fifth by lap three. Stewart lost the second spot as well to Saturday’s Heavy winner Ryan Phillips (Bandit). Cody Robinson (Arrow) and outside pole sitter Tony Jump (Margay) filled out the front group. Phillips applied heavy pressure on Adkins, taking a look inside turn three on the final lap, but he did not pull the trigger, preferring to wait until the all-important main. Adkins went on to the win with Phillips and Stewart in tow. Robinson was able to get by Jump on the final lap after losing the fourth position two laps earlier.
Four karts made up the lead group for the 15-lap feature run as Adkins continue to show the way with Phillips, Jump, and Stewart all putting on the pressure. Second thru fourth mixed it up in the opening laps, giving Adkins the opportunity to pull away, however, they regrouped to reel him back in. Behind them was a great battle for fifth, that is, until Zach Beard (Birel) came away with the position and began closing in on fourth place Stewart.
With five to go, Beard was on the bumper of Stewart as they both closed in on the top three who had begun mixing it up to make it five in the lead group with Jump at the point. Adkins regained the lead with a good run coming onto the front straight with a help from Phillips, dropping Jump back to third. Phillips then took his turn in the lead with a great move into turn four, dropping Adkins to third and eventually fourth as Stewart came through as well. On the final lap, Jump got the run up the hill and took over the lead. Phillips tried to overtake as they came back down toward the checkered, but pressure from Stewart prevented that from happening. Jump got away clean in the final corner and took his first victory in the class. Phillips held on to second to make it a 1-2 for American-made chassis with Margay and Bandit filling the top two positions. Stewart was third and would maintain his championship lead while Beard came up from 12th to fourth after dropping Adkins to fifth.
Cadet - Final 2
The Prefinal for the Cadet division began with an opening wreck in turn 10, breaking up the field with a few top-10 drivers involved. Up front, pole sitter Colin Warren (Birel) and Santino Ferrucci (Top Kart) broke away, but they were run down by Joel Jens (Merlin) and Collin Campbell (Birel) with two laps to go. Jens got a great draft as Ferrucci went outside Warren up the hill and went inside to make it three-wide. Jens came out with the lead as Warren dropped to third. On the final lap, Ferrucci was able to get by Jens and held on to take the win. Jens crossed second with Campbell, Warren, and Derek Sobel (Top Kart) completing the top-five.
After two failed attempts, the Cadets were given the green to begin racing despite a number of drivers getting collected at the tail of the field. Ferrucci led the way with three karts on his bumper - Campbell, Jens, and Warren - as they pulled away from a train of karts that made up fifth through 12th positions. At the halfway point, the top four remained in line as they continued to hold some real estate over the now four-kart train for fifth led by Kyle Kalish (Merlin), who had started last in the Prefinal and worked himself up to ninth.
The fireworks went off as they got the white flag when Jens drafted by Ferrucci for the top spot, bringing the other three with him to drop Ferrucci back to fourth. As they exited turn two, Campbell dropped a wheel and allowed Warren to slide into second with Ferrucci up to third. Jens had a small gap as they came back down the hill, but Warren quickly ate that up coming to the final corner. Jens missed the apex in the final corner and drifted high, hurting his exit speed. He then made a small move to the inside to defend his position, but collected Warren in the process, as he was trying to drag race him to the line. They spun sideways roughly 20 feet from the checkered, allowing Ferrucci by to earn the checkered flag for the victory. Campbell was second to the line with Kalish, James Bennett (Birel), and Tyler Moneypenny (Arrow) completing the top-five. Warren was able to cross the line eighth, while Jens’ kart sat dead on the track and would be classified 20th in the final tally.
This was the view that the HPV Jr. Lite class saw all Sunday - the rear bumper of Sam Beasley's Arrow
(Photo: Rob Howden - eKartingNews.com)
HPV Jr. Lite
Pole sitter Sam Beasley (Arrow) put in a time that was two-tenths quicker than anyone in the HPV Jr. Lite qualifying session and he continued that pace into the Prefinal. Beasley got down to business quickly, jumping out to a solid lead over Nick Neri (Tony Kart) that was over a second at the halfway flags. Neri would close in during the final laps, turning the fastest times of the race, but he would come up just a little short as Beasley took the Prefinal win to maintain his pole position for the main event. Neri was second ahead of Jake Cole (Merlin), who came out on top of a superb battle with Jacob Knueven (Arrow) and Sage Karam (Birel) for third.
Neri got the jump over Beasley to begin the 15-lap feature run, however, his time at the point was short-lived as Beasley regained the position on lap two. The duo put some distance on the Birels of Karam and Austin Self, who had gotten a great start from seventh. Beasley had some space on Neri in the first half of the race, yet Neri began to cut into the gap as they reached the two-to-go point. Now on his bumper, Beasley began to feel the pressure from Neri but a small mistake on the exit of the final corner by Neri erased all that progress as he lost more ground on Beasley. At the line, Beasley took his second victory of the weekend, this time by 1.4 seconds. Karam and Self went side-by-side to the checkered flag with Karam getting the third position. Cole ran a solid fifth in his debut aboard a Merlin ride.
After steadily improving his pace on Saturday en route to a second place finish, John Zartarian (Tony Kart) laid down the top time in TaG qualifying with a 48.041. Margay’s Michelle Bumgarner was second in the order, coming in ahead Saturday winner Chris Wehrheim (Top Kart), Marco Di Leo (Intrepid) and Mark Bumgarner (Margay). Zartarian bolted out to a big lead early in the Prefinal as the fight for second was heated, with Di Leo eventually getting to the head of the chase pack. The margin of victory for Zartarian was over a second at the end of the 10-lap sprint, as he secured the pole for the final. Di Leo held on for second ahead of Wehrheim, while Bumgarner took fourth ahead of Jamie Sieracki (Merlin), who advanced from eighth to fifth. A good performance was put in by Mark Vielgut aboard his Haase as he was forced to start from the tail of the field after running the qualifying laps without a transponder, and he sliced his way up to seventh in 10 laps.
The inside line held the advantage through the opening corner of the TaG feature with Zartarian and Wehrheim sliding through for first and second, dropping Di Leo back to third. The top four, including Sieracki, ran with about two kart lengths between each position to begin the battle. Vielgut’s hope for a podium finish vanished on lap three with a mechanical issue as he headed to pit lane. At the halfway point, Di Leo looked to be sizing up Wehrheim for the second spot, however, he made no attempt to overtake for the position. On lap 12, he pulled the trigger by going deep into the final corner, completing the pass on the exit. Wehrheim fought back as they went up the hill, making slight contact going through turn 1 and 2, to no avail. Up front, Zartarian would go unchallenged for his first WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Series victory. Di Leo held on to second with Wehrheim and Sieracki in tow, with Bumgarner completing the podium in fifth.
Mike McAndrews earned the top step of the podium in Yamaha Sportsman
After qualifying sixth in the field, Jeff Myers Jr. (Birel) was at the head of a three-kart breakaway during the opening laps of the Yamaha Sportsman Prefinal. Santino Ferrucci (Maranello) and top qualifier Mike McAndrews (Margay) were on Myers’ bumper from the get-go and they would both slip past at the end of the frontstraight at the beginning of lap five. The majority of the field were still right there as McAndrews re-took the lead on lap seven, pushing Ferrucci back to second as the top-10 tightened up, led by a charging Karl Weber (Birel). McAndrews would go on the defensive over the final lap and despite sacrificing exit speed, he was still able to hold off any attacks from Ferrucci, who was second at the line. Garrett Johnston (Margay) advanced from seventh to third, finishing ahead of Karl Weber (Birel) and Kyle Kalish (Merlin).
The opening corner of the feature shuffled up the field as Weber escaped with the lead and showed the way until McAndrews reassumed the top spot on lap four. McAndrews led a three-kart breakaway with Johnston and Kalish on his bumper. The fight for fourth saw a large pack shuffling position, which allowed the front three to continue to pull away. They would run in line for the majority of the race. The white flag lap decided the race as Johnston went inside of McAndrews into turn three to make his bid at the victory. McAndrews won the battle and emerged with the lead. Kalish capitalized on Johnston going wide on the exit of four to slide through for second. They would run that way to the line with McAndrews earning his first win of the season. Jens and Collin Campbell (Birel) rounded out the top-five.
National Kart News editor Mike Burrell (Birel) took control of the short four-kart Yamaha Masters field from the get-go, posting the fastest lap in qualifying with a 54.161. Lawrence Ubell (Kosmic) was second on the time sheets with 54.635 to sit ahead of Scot Carapellatti (Haase). Jody Folice was a late entry, having come to the race as a spectator only to be coerced into the seat of a Franklin Motorsports Merlin. The Charlotte, NC resident is a former IKF Duffy winner and she is slowly picking up the pace, running just under three seconds off the pace in the short qualifying run. In the Prefinal, Burrell dropped his fast lap to a 54.105 to top Ubell and maintain his pole position for the final. Carapellatti was again third, while Folice dropped a second and a half in finishing fourth, now just 1.422 seconds off the leader’s pace.
Burrell capped the day of perfection with a wire-to-wire victory over Ubell, although the eventual runner-up applied a great deal of pressure in the early going. Carapellatti was running third when he dropped out with a mechanical issue, advancing Folice to the podium in third.
Yamaha Jr. Heavy
Aiming at his second win of the weekend, Sam Beasley (Arrow) posted the fastest time during Yamaha Jr. Heavy qualifying, laying down a 51.152 to edge Matthew Tifft (Arrow) by just over two tenths. Sage Karam (Birel) was third in the order, ahead of Colton Ramsey (Merlin) and Austin Self (Birel). Beasley would keep up the pace in the Prefinal, although a wreck on the initial start delayed things for a time. When the race went back to green, Beasley walked away to a 6.182-second victory to keep the pole for the final, while Karam got out in front of the next group to take second ahead of Self and Kyle Crump (Margay). Jake Cole (Merlin) capped the top-five.
A wild start to the main event shook up the order as the leaders got caught up, falling into the field. Presented with one last chance to salvage what has been a tough weekend, Merlin Nation pilot Trent Hindman was able to clear the carnage and jump from his 13th place starting position to the lead on lap two. Self then slipped through to take over the point, while Beasley suffered the worst of it, dropping back to 15th. Through the midway point of the race, Hindman went back to the point as he and Self set about breaking away from the field, which was being led by Karam, Kyle Smith and Nick Neri, who had come from 11th after having to start the Prefinal from the tail of the grid after swapping motors.
Beasley would retire on lap five, but at the halfway mark, Hindman and Self were still working together and pulling away. As the laps wound down, Hindman was able to pull away, but Karam was on the move as well, reeling in Self before taking over second place. Karam would run out of steam, however, as Hindman took the emotional victory. Neri finished up third, ahead of Self and Jack Manley (Arrow).
A great start for Ryan Stewart in his Birel machine to begin the Prefinal for the HPV Heavy category saw him jump from fourth to first in the opening lap. Pole sitter Bill McLaughlin Jr. (Birel) was dropped back to fourth behind Tommy Andersen (Merlin) and Patrick Olsen (Birel). Stewart would put down the fast laps of the race to pull away to a near 3-second win as three drivers battled it out for third. Olsen would come out on top of that fight with McLaughlin Jr. and Andersen close behind. Jimmy Digirolamo (Merlin) held the fifth spot through the 10-lap race.
Stewart took advantage of his pole position starting spot and led the way in the 15-lap feature, feeling pressure early from Olsen, McLaughlin and Andersen. A slight bobble by Olsen allowed McLaughlin to slide by for second as he and Andersen lost ground to the top two as a result. Lap after lap, McLaughlin kept his front bumper just inches off Stewart’s rear panel. In the closing stages, Stewart was able to put some distance over McLaughlin and go on to take the victory. Andersen ran alone to third with TJ Koyen (Merlin) able to work by Olsen for fourth in the final lap.